Who is a Philosopher?


I agree with you that Jesus says things about community and about morality. But I think to get at what I’m saying I would point to another figure with whom I know you have some familiarity: Dostoevsky.

Was Dostoevsky a philosopher? Most philosophers would say no (at least the ones I’ve read who treat the matter). Dostoevsky wrote about a great many philosophical themes and he has certainly been scrutinized by philosophers but in a formal sense, he was not a philosopher. If the fact that Dostoevsky talked about philosophy and that he has influenced philosophers (Nietzsche among others) makes him a philosopher, than a great many authors of fiction and other artists should be counted as philosophers too.

In the same vein Jesus talked about things that bear on political philosophy but he never laid out any formal system of political philosophy the way that Plato or Aristotle or Locke or Marx might have.